November 2022 – Birthday month

We are racing through the year, November already. Cersei’s birthday was celebrated with an old fashion dormitory style sleepover and fire pit with her new friends. 
It was also my birthday and around this time is when I started to miss my friends and family. You can be so busy with this exciting project but then suddenly what to do when a night out or coffee with good friends is truly missed. I am making new French friends but I miss chatting at speed and with humour. Facial expressions seem to be getting me a long way in the meantime! We are making English friends too but were so happy when my good UK friends Sue and Catherine came out mid November to spend some time with me for my birthday – fantastic!
They even tried out the electric bikes from the local bike shop (Good Turn Cycles) in Eymet for me – this will be a great activity to offer guests when they stay. They did really well and did not get too lost or upset too many farmers! – ”Stick to the path…”



The manoir is next to the church and on 11 November the whole village walks up to the Armistice monument outside the church to remember the fallen. We stood outside too and watched as the French flag was raised, flowers were laid and the choir sang hymns – very moving. After the minute silence, the Marie (Mayor), read out the names on the epitaph and gave a speech in remembrance. Then the whole village sang La Marseillaise, national anthem and finished with a round of applause. The red poppy, which is synonymous with Remembrance Day in the UK, is not used. Instead the symbol of remembrance in France is the bleuet or cornflower.

So obviously the French do not celebrate this but the school Cersei attends in Monbahus holds a bonfire night as mainly English attend the school. The school is very community focused so have always run a bonfire event for the English and French to come together and enjoy a bonfire, vin chaud (mulled wine) and a burger, no fireworks though. It also raises funds and this year, after the ravages of COVID, was really well attended – a great night meeting new people.
So becoming a resident is a long, paperwork filled, complicated process. The first hoop is a Carte Vitale medical card so next year we will be part of the French medical system. I applied for the card and then had to attend a medical in Bordeaux. I was worried about this – visualising a hard circuit training situation and blood tests (thinking of all the bread, cheese and wine consumed over the summer -gulp).
My worries were unfounded – one chest X-ray (looking for TB) and a rather strange questionnaire later (questions like “do you get angry when a friends tells you, you drink too much?”) I answered no of course. My friends would never dare to tell me this!  I was done. The application to work next year is onerous – birth certificates need to be translated and qualifications need to be verified to work. Searching for certificates from the 1980’s will be fun.
We are trying to do the heavy building work in the barn. The studio build is progressing but we try and do nice work in the house so it does not feel like a hard long slog all the time. We have finished the salon (living room) wallpapering and architrave painting just in time for Christmas. I am so happy with the look of the room, refreshed but cozy. I have curtains to make and chairs to upholster but for now it looks amazing even if I say so myself.

We need chimneys swept but have learnt a lesson here – book your chimney sweep in August for December! Can’t get one for love nor money!! Arrgh the Bing Cosby white Christmas moment may not happen!
We had tile inserts in the deep doorway entrances but they were plain, broken or lost so we took the opportunity to replace them with some patterned old style tiles. These should look fantastic when we repaint the woodwork and walls in a beautiful pale blue grey in the new year. In the meantime take a peek at the laid tiled doorway.

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